What does FCF mean to you?
Ad dare servire. If you are a member of Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship, you should know what that means. And I’m not just talking about what the translation is from the Latin. “To give and to serve.” To give of your time and your resources. To serve as the backbone of the Royal Rangers ministry. I remember the first few work days that we had at our Royal Rangers campground at Lakeview Camp. Almost every man and young man working those events, was a member of FCF.
So what does being a member of Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship mean to me? I’ll start with a story from 10 years ago. At that time, my son was a member of a Royal Rangers outpost, but I was too busy with work and everything else to be a part of that. So one day, he comes to me and says, “Dad we should go to this black powder safety class that they are doing this weekend.” Well I figured if firearms are involved it has to be a good idea! Little did I know, but that one class would change me forever. I spent time with my son, and we talked about Royal Rangers. I spent time talking to the instructor (Art Sullivan) and other members of FCF that were there teaching and taking the class. But most importantly I found that my son and I were really drifting further and further apart, and that this would be a great way for us to become close again. So I became a Royal Rangers Commander. Christopher and I went to FCF Adventure together. We went to campouts together. We went through our Buckskin testing together. He earned his Saber and his Gold Medal of Achievement, and I was there the whole way. Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship saved our relationship.
I say all of that to say this. Commanders, if you are in FCF, and your boys are not in FCF, BOTH of you are missing out on a blessing. If you are losing your older boys to the fumes, exhaust fumes and perfumes, FCF is a way to challenge them and keep them interested in Royal Rangers. Challenge the boys to advance in FCF. There is nothing better than seeing a group of young men in a Buckskin ceremony or even better a Wilderness ceremony after their vigil. But once you get the boys into FCF, bring them to camps! More than likely, if you don’t go, they won’t or can’t go. And again, you both are missing out on a blessing.
About seven years ago, my son graduated high school and pretty much finished his Royal Ranger career, and then eventually joined the Army. So I decided that I would get out of Royal Rangers and leave FCF behind me. And I did. For about 6 months. Then the Lord reminded me that he had called me to be in Royal Rangers and, more specifically, Frontiersman Camping Fellowship. And I came right back. This is MY ministry. This is what I do. This is what makes me happy. This is how I spend my spare time. This is how I spend the majority of my vacation days every year.
It is about a brotherhood. I know in our Chapter, we very seldom shake hands with another FCF member. We hug. Yep, we are huggers. I met the guy I call my best friend at my FCF Adventure! So yeah, it’s a brotherhood. When you go to a Pow Wow or other camp with all of your boys, you spend so much time making sure they are safe, and they eat, and they are where they are supposed to be at the time they are supposed be and they maybe have taken a shower and possibly brushed their teeth and are sleeping in the right tent and are actually in the tent and not running around someone else’s camp and on and on and on, that you don’t get a chance to sit around the fire and put your feet up and talk about your life and your God with other commander and you come back more tired than when you left. I have found FCF camps to be very relaxing, once you spend all day putting up your shelter and your awning and your bed and your tables and chairs and candle lanterns and cooking area and …well you get it. I’ve spent more time with my brothers talking about things at FCF camps than anywhere else. That alone is worth the price of admission!
Oh! One more thing. We shoot muzzle-loaders! Yep, black powder rifles baby! NOTHING beats the smell of the sulfur smoke in the morning! Enough said!
If you want more information about FCF, look me up on our District website, ntxrr.org. Or ask any one of your local Chapter officers or members. Royal Rangers needs more Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship members. Besides, if you get a boy hooked on black powder rifles, primitive knives and leather working, bead necklaces, canvas tents and wood furniture, he won’t have time or money to chase after anything else!
Watch Yer Topknot,
David “Spotted Bull” Shook
Shawnee Trail Chapter